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AG Reyes on POTUS’ Executive Order

 
UTAH AG ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON IMMIGRATION 
 Reyes calls on Congress to act quickly to close loopholes
 

SALT LAKE CITY – This afternoon, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement in support of President Trump’s Executive Order Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation:

I applaud President Trump’s executive order stopping family separations at the border. No one wants to see children separated from their parents. It has been obvious for decades and under multiple administrations that our immigration system is flawed. Legal loopholes not only impede moral and pragmatic relocation and residence of families, but also fuel the human trafficking scourge among many vulnerable populations and ages. Congress needs to come together, setting aside partisan differences, to close these loopholes immediately and fix the problem.

I was born into a family with an immigrant father. I understand the immigration quandary from both a personal and legal perspective. My father risked his life to stand up to a dictatorial regime in his country and barely escaped by coming to the United States. He ultimately achieved his U.S. citizenship, one of the greatest days of his life. As we debate immigration policy, we must remember the real victims of today’s broken system and the consequences if Congress fails to fix the law. Again, I call on Congress to close the loopholes and get immigration right.

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ICAC Task Force Capture

The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force continues to help keep children safe. Recently, the ICAC Task Force executed a warrant against a Salt Lake City man with over 1,000 files of child pornography on his laptop. He has been charged with 10 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. 

You can find coverage of the story here: 

KUTV: Salt Lake City man charged with 10 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a minor

KSL: Magna man charged after 1K files of child pornography found on computer 

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children. For more information on what the Task Force does and how you can keep your children safe, click here



ICYMI: AGO Week in Review

The Red Sand Project
Over the weekend, the Utah Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Junior League of Salt Lake, Backyard Broadcast, and rock-star Representative Angela Romero on behalf of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) to raise awareness about the fight against human trafficking. 

Federal Court Grants Motion on WOTUS
U.S. District Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Utah and ten other states and blocked the implementation of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in those jurisdictions. “We are encouraged that the federal government has agreed with the merits of our challenge.”

AGO Files Charges Against Former Victim Advocate
The charges focus on a misappropriation of donations made to the Summit County Victim Assistance Program. The total amount of funds found to have been misused is in excess of $5000.

ICAC Task Force Charges Man with 10 Felony Counts of Child Exploitation
More than 1,000 files of child pornography were found on the laptop of a Salt Lake City man, whic led to the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to execute a search of residence.

AG Reyes Announces $100 Million Settlement
An investigation conducted by a group of 42 state Attorneys General offices discovered fraudulent conduce on behalf of Citibank and its representation of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate. State AGs have now recovered $420 million from LIBOR-setting panel banks for misconduct. 

DOJ Responds to Utah ACA Lawsuit
Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded to the Utah Attorney General’s motion, along with 19 other states, to preliminarily enjoin the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The DOJ agreed with Utah that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.


DOJ Responds to Utah ACA Lawsuit

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded to the Utah Attorney General’s motion, along with 19 other states, to preliminarily enjoin the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The DOJ agreed with Utah that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The DOJ will not defend the mandate or two other parts of the ACA that DOJ conceded were not severable from it: the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions. We believe the DOJ’s response strengthens the merits of Utah’s case against the ACA.

Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement in response to the DOJ’s brief:

“From the beginning, Utah has argued that the ACA mandate was an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the act by finding that the mandate could be construed as a tax. When Congress reformed the tax system in December 2017, it removed the tax penalty for failing to comply with the mandate. That change eliminated the basis for the Court’s decision to uphold the ACA’s constitutionality.

“Given that change, Utah joined nearly two dozen of our sister states in a new lawsuit seeking to strike down the law. The individual mandate cannot be severed from two other parts of the Affordable Care Act (the Guaranteed Issue Provision and Community Rating). Because the mandate is unconstitutional, those two elements must fail as well.

“The DOJ has now acknowledged the problems with the statue. Its position is a concession that our arguments are correct. This strengthens our case, and we look forward to seeing if the district judge agrees.”

 

You can find coverage of the response here: Deseret News – Utah A.G.: Feds not defending ACA provisions ‘strengthens our case’ to nix whole law.

 

NOTES: 

  1. For a copy of the document of the DOJ’s response, go here: 92 Federal Defendants’ Response to Plaintiffs’ Application for Preliminary Injunction.
  2. You can find a copy of the original lawsuit here: Texas, Wisconsin et al v. U.S. et al – ACA Complaint (02-26-18).

 


AG Reyes Announces $100 Million Settlement

ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN REYES ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION 42-STATE SETTLEMENT WITH CITIBANK
State AGs Have Recovered $420 Million from USD LIBOR-Setting Panel Banks for Misconduct

SALT LAKE CITY – Attorney General Sean Reyes today announced a $100 million settlement with Citibank for fraudulent conduct involving U.S. Dollar (USD) LIBOR, which is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers. The investigation was conducted by a working group of 42 state Attorneys General offices, led by New York.

According to Assistant Attorney General Eddie Vasquez, “Although LIBOR rates are calculated in London, they affect the interest rates that Utah consumers pay for many credit cards and variable rate mortgages, so keeping the LIBOR rate setting system honest is very important to our citizens.”

The Attorneys General alleged that Citibank misrepresented the integrity of the LIBOR benchmark to state and local governmental, not-for-profit, private, and institutional trading counterparties by concealing, misrepresenting, and failing to disclose that:

  1. Citibank, at times, made USD LIBOR submissions to avoid negative publicity and protect the reputation of the bank;
  2. Citibank’s USD LIBOR submitters, on occasion, asked Citibank personnel in other units of the bank to avoid offering higher rates than Citibank’s USD LIBOR submissions; and
  3. Citibank expressed belief that other banks, at times, made USD LIBOR submissions that were inconsistent with their borrowing rates and contributed to inaccurate LIBORs.

Given this conduct, Citibank had reason to believe that its and other banks’ LIBOR submissions did not reflect their true borrowing rates in accordance with the established public guidance.  Citibank did not disclose this to the governmental and not-for-profit counterparties with which Citibank executed LIBOR-referenced transactions, even though these rates were material terms of the transactions.

As a result of its fraudulent conduct, Citibank made millions in unjust gains when government entities and not-for-profit organizations entered into swaps and other financial contracts with Citibank without knowing that Citibank and other banks on the USD LIBOR-setting panel were manipulating LIBOR submissions.

Governmental and not-for-profit entities with LIBOR-linked swaps and other investment contracts with Citibank will be notified if they are eligible to receive a distribution from a settlement fund of $95 million.  The balance of the settlement fund will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with state laws.

Citibank is the third of several USD LIBOR-setting panel banks to resolve claims following an investigation by state Attorneys General. With the Citibank settlement, the Attorneys General have collected $420 million in payments from the three banks, almost all of which will be distributed to state and local government entities and not-for-profits.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Citibank will continue to cooperate with the states’ ongoing investigation into other USD LIBOR-setting panel banks.

The settlement was reached by the Attorneys General of Utah, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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NOTES:

  1. Find a PDF copy of the settlement at the following link: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citi-Settlement-Agreement-June-13-2018.pdf.

AGO Files Charges Against Former Victim Advocate

FORMER VICTIM ADVOCATE CHARGED WITH MISUSE OF PUBLIC MONEY

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) today filed charges against a former Summit County Attorney’s Office victim advocate for misusing public money, a second degree felony. The charges focus on a misappropriation of donations made to the Summit County Victim Assistance Program.

Marsha Lynn Probst was a victim advocate in the Summit County Attorney’s Office from June 2006 to October 2017. During her employment, Probst would regularly receive donations on behalf of the county’s Victim Assistance Program from Wasatch Womenade, a non-profit based in Park City, Utah. An investigation by the AGO discovered that the defendant established an account at a local credit union using funds from donations made to Summit County, unbeknownst to other Summit County employees.  The charges allege the funds collected were used for personal purchases and expenditures. The total amount of misappropriated donation funds is in excess of $5,000. 

If convicted, the charge carries a maximum penalty of one to fifteen years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00. 

Charging documents signify the commencement of a criminal case. Any person accused of committing a crime should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the charges filed here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Documents.pdf.

 


Federal Court Grants Motion on WOTUS

FEDERAL COURT AGREES WITH UTAH, GRANTS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION ON WATERS OF THE U.S. RULE
Court Finds that WOTUS Rule Likely Violates Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution   

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced that a U.S. District Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Utah and ten other states, and blocked implementation of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in those jurisdictions.  

The lawsuit, filed against the administrators of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June 2015, challenged those agencies’ definition of WOTUS in the 2015 rule. In the controversial definition, “navigable waters” under federal control included traditionally state-regulated and smaller bodies of water, including roadside ditches, small ponds on farms, water features on golf courses, storm-water systems, and other small waterways like streams and wetlands. The coalition of states argued that this definition violated the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as the Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.   

“We are encouraged that the federal district court has agreed with the merits of our challenge. The WOTUS Rule vastly and unnecessarily expands federal regulatory powers in a way that threatens the sovereignty of states, the liberty of citizens, and the viability of businesses. The Federal Government has no business regulating ponds in our backyards or the water hazards on every back nine,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. “I’m proud of the work Utah contributed to this case. This is a victory not only for our State, but for all who believe that the role of the federal government should be carefully limited and clearly defined.” 

In its order issued Friday evening, the U.S. District Court agreed that if the WOTUS Rule became effective, the States would suffer irreparable harm through both “a loss of sovereignty and unrecoverable monetary losses.”  The court concluded that blocking the WOTUS Rule also favors the public interest because it saves farmers, homeowners, and small businesses from having to “devote time and expense to obtain federal permits … to comply with a rule that is likely to be invalidated.” 

In addition to Utah, the 11-state coalition consists of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.  

In light of the District Court’s order, and an earlier similar injunction granted by the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, two federal courts have now issued injunctions against the 2015 WOTUS Rule in 24 states.

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NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the order here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/20180608-WOTUS-preliminary-injunction-002.pdf.
  2. Here is a copy of the original filing: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/06.30.15-WOTUS-Lawsuit.pdf.

 


The Red Sand Project

 

Over the weekend, the Utah Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Junior League of Salt Lake, Backyard Broadcast, and rock-star Representative Angela Romero on behalf of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) to raise awareness about the fight against human trafficking. 

 Russell Smith, our Secure Strike Force section director, was there and said the following regarding sex trafficking:

“…about 95 percent of women in prostitution don’t do it voluntarily. Because there is force, fraud or coercion involved, they fall under the definition of human trafficking. Until we [citizens] start taking a closer look at it and are out looking for and trying to stop it, nothing is going to really change.”

The industry of trafficking humans is alive and well in America, and Utah is not exempt. The good news is that we can fight it. The State, through the efforts of legislators, the Attorney General’s Office, law enforcement, and many community partners are educating people, arresting and prosecuting wrongdoers, and improving our laws when it comes to minors, victims, and punishment of predators.

You can help too.  For more information on how to recognize signs of human trafficking, click here.

For more on the Red Sand Project here in Utah, follow any of the following links.

KSL: Red sand on state capitol calls attention to sex trafficking
KSL TV: ‘Red Sand Project’ at Utah State Capitol brings awareness to sex trafficking 
Deseret News: Red sand on Utah state Capitol steps calls attention to sex trafficking 

 

See below for more information on the Junior League of Salt Lake, Backyard Broadcast, the National Foundation of Women Legislators, and the Red Sand Project.

https://www.jlslc.org/
http://backyardbroadcast.org/
https://www.womenlegislators.org/
https://redsandproject.org/


Labor Trafficking in America

When most Americans hear the word trafficking, often what comes to mind are sex slaves in foreign countries. Many forget that the U.S. is home to multiple operations of human trafficking in a variety of forms. One form of trafficking that is commonly overlooked? Labor trafficking.

According to The Polaris Project, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery and human trafficking, nearly 30,000 cases of labor trafficking have been discovered in the United States since 2007. As more and more people come to the U.S. looking for better opportunities or were lured here by grandiose properties, the rise of trafficked undocumented workers grow. It is our responsibility as citizens to educate ourselves and learn to recognize potential trafficking operations. 

You can learn more about the labor trafficking in the U.S. here: https://polarisproject.org/blog/2015/12/29/labor-trafficking-land-opportunity.

Frontline, the investigative journalism series of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), produced an in-depth documentary of how something as horrifying as this can happen in our own backyards. 

To watch the Frontline coverage and learn more about what labor trafficking looks like, click the picture below. 

 

 

If you or anyone you know are concerned about or suspect the possibility of trafficking happening, please call our Utah Trafficking in Persons tip line: 801-200-3443. 


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